Franco Ordoñez

Franco Ordoñez is a White House Correspondent for NPR's Washington Desk. Before he came to NPR in 2019, Ordoñez covered the White House for McClatchy. He has also written about diplomatic affairs, foreign policy and immigration, and has been a correspondent in Cuba, Colombia, Mexico and Haiti.

Ordoñez has received several state and national awards for his work, including the Casey Medal, the Gerald Loeb Award and the Robert F. Kennedy Award for Excellence in Journalism. He is a two-time reporting fellow with the International Center for Journalists, and is a graduate of Columbia Journalism School and the University of Georgia.

President-elect Joe Biden is preparing to name a second high-level climate position in the White House, a counterpart to his diplomatic climate envoy John Kerry, to ramp up action dramatically at home.

Updated at 9:36 p.m. ET

The White House has given its blessing for President-elect Joe Biden to receive the summary of intelligence reports contained in the presidential daily brief that President Trump receives, according to a White House official and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

Updated at 6:15 p.m. ET

The United States has had 77 Treasury secretaries in the last 231 years. So far, they've all been men.

That's about to change.

President-elect Joe Biden plans to nominate former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen to head the Treasury Department, a source close to the transition told NPR on Monday

If confirmed, Yellen would play a leading role in shaping economic policy as the United States continues to dig its way out of the deep hole caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

In the two weeks since it became clear that President Trump lost the election to Joe Biden — a period bookended by befuddling press conferences from his longtime lawyer, Rudy Giuliani — the president has made it clear that he will spend his remaining days in the White House in the same way he spent much of his term in office: fighting.

John Jones, who previously served as chief of staff to Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., and has deep ties with the Congressional Black Caucus, is in the mix to head President-elect Joe Biden's Office of Management and Budget, according to three people familiar with the discussions.

"He's a well-regarded person in Democratic circles. His CBC background is helping him a lot," a senior Democratic aide familiar with the discussions told NPR.

In the hours before President Trump began to realize that he may not get to "Make America Great Again, Again," the former reality television star who stunned the world in 2016 with his improbable leap to the White House allowed for a moment of candor.

"You know, winning is easy. Losing is never easy. Not for me, it's not," Trump told reporters on Election Day, his voice hoarse from an unforgiving three-week marathon of rallies.

Now, the world is seeing just how difficult it is for a man who built his brand on winning to lose.

Aides to President Trump have been counseling him this week that his legal options to try to contest the election are limited, but Trump wants to fight it out, a former campaign adviser who remains in touch with key players told NPR.

"It's dawning on him," the former adviser said, speaking on condition of anonymity to comment on private conversations. "He never thought he could lose ... and those of us who are in Trump World, we actually never believed he could lose."

Updated at 4 a.m. ET

The 2020 presidential election remained up in the air early Wednesday after tight races, strong turnout and record amounts of mail-in voting left millions of legitimate votes still to be counted, and races in six key states too close to call.

Democratic candidate Joe Biden urged patience until "every vote is counted," but President Trump railed against the extra time required to count the ballots, falsely accusing Democrats of trying to steal the election from him.

Hope Hicks, one of President Trump's closest aides, threw up her hands up into the shape of a "Y" as she danced her way back to the stairs of Air Force One.

Grinning to her left was Trump campaign adviser David Bossie, who was breaking out the same moves — albeit with less precision — as the disco beat for the Village People anthem "YMCA" pounded over the sound system on the tarmac in Pensacola, Fla.

President Trump is racing from tarmac to tarmac in the final weeks of the campaign, holding large rallies to blast out an array of closing arguments — buckshot style — for a second term in office.

So far, most of the stops have been in swing states — Florida, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Arizona, Wisconsin, Michigan and Nevada. But he has also held rallies in Iowa and Georgia, states he won easily in 2016 in a sign the electoral map has shifted on him.

President Trump tried out a new message for seniors on the campaign trail on Friday — an important bloc of voters who have given him poor marks for how he has handled the coronavirus.

Trump, who has consistently downplayed the threat and the impact of the pandemic, delivered his most empathetic speech to date in prepared remarks in Florida, a swing state critical to his frenzied homestretch push for a second term in office.

Updated at 2:30 p.m. ET

Vice President Pence tested negative for the virus on Tuesday and remains symptom-free, his physician Dr. Jess Schonau said in a memo. Even so, his team says it is taking extra precautions as he picks up campaign trips for President Trump, who has returned to the White House.

Pence "has remained healthy, without any COVID-19 symptoms, and has continued to have daily COVID-19 antigen tests and intermittent PCR tests which have all resulted as negatives," Schonau wrote.

The White House is struggling on Monday to show that it has a burgeoning public health and political crisis under control as President Trump enters his third day of aggressive and experimental treatment for the coronavirus.

Vice President Pence — who has tested negative for the coronavirus — has been working from home rather than going into the White House complex since President Trump was diagnosed with the virus late on Thursday, a senior administration official told NPR.

Vice President Pence has tested negative for the coronavirus, a spokesman says, after President Trump announced his own positive test.

Devin O'Malley, the vice president's spokesman, told NPR that Pence is tested every day.

Miguel Arango had just turned 18 when he voted for Barack Obama in 2012.

Four years later, he was a passionate supporter of Bernie Sanders, but opted for a third-party candidate in the 2016 general election.

"I was not going to vote for Trump either," he said. "I thought all these things about him — that he was this, he was that. And slowly it started transitioning."

Updated at 6:56 p.m. ET

President Trump is vehemently defending himself against allegations that he has privately disparaged veterans for their military service during his time in office even as his campaign has sought to showcase his support for those in uniform.

The characterization of Trump as a commander in chief who privately denigrates veterans even while he publicly lavishes praise upon them and claims them as part of his voting base is freighted with political risk ahead of the Nov. 3 presidential election.

The photo on the book jacket of Sarah Huckabee Sanders smiling up at President Trump as they walk along the White House Rose Garden reveals a lot about the story inside.

For more than two years, Sanders was a key part of Trump's inner circle, reaching a level of trust and access few have in this unconventional administration.

"I didn't just love my job, I loved the president and most of the people I worked with," she writes.

When Vice President Mike Pence speaks to the Republican National Convention from Baltimore's Fort McHenry on Wednesday, he will aim to leverage his conservative bona fides to make the case that President Trump is a stronger choice for the economy and law and order than his Democratic opponent.

It's the kind of message this loyal wing man has hammered home time and again with evangelical Christians, social conservatives and mainstream Republicans who have become part of the voting base for Trump, a former reality star and real estate developer.

Updated at 8:15 p.m. ET

President Trump stoked an untrue conspiracy theory being promoted by supporters — and his campaign — that Sen. Kamala Harris of California is not eligible for the vice presidency.

The Democrat was born in California and therefore qualifies for the job.

The Trump administration's decision to entrust $765 million of taxpayer money to Eastman Kodak raised several questions about the financial vetting of the struggling camera company even before the deal was put on hold amid an investigation into potential insider trading.

President Trump tapped into the emotions and nostalgia of a bygone era, charging that Kodak would lead U.S. efforts to bring pharmaceutical manufacturing back to the United States.

Updated at 10:30 a.m. ET

The renewed surge in coronavirus cases has left some states once again scrambling to find supplies of masks, gowns, gloves and other medical supplies. The shortages have drawn attention to President Trump's plan to help rebuild the national stockpile of these supplies — a plan that involves a little-known foreign investment agency.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will not release a set of documents this week aimed at giving schools advice on how to reopen to students after coronavirus shutdowns, NPR has learned. Instead, the full set will be published before the end of the month, a CDC spokesperson says.

"These science and evidence-based resources and tools will provide additional information for administrators, teachers and staff, parents, caregivers and guardians, as together we work towards the public health-oriented goal of safely opening schools this fall," the spokesperson said.

Updated at 2:45 p.m. ET

President Trump once again questioned the expertise of his top public health officials Monday morning, retweeting a conspiracy theory from former game show host Chuck Woolery, who suggested that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the "Media, Democrats [and] our Doctors" are lying about COVID-19 in an effort to hurt Trump in November's general election.

President Trump on Friday said he plans to unveil sometime in the next month an immigration measure that he said would include some protections for DACA — the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that provides for work permits and other protections for people brought to the U.S. as children by undocumented parents.

Trump had tried to cancel the Obama-era program, but the Supreme Court last month said it could stay in place.

President Trump and his Chinese counterpart spoke about Trump's reelection prospects "frequently," former national security adviser John Bolton told NPR.

According to Bolton, Chinese President Xi Jinping lamented that Trump couldn't run for a potential third term, to which Trump "said yes," Bolton recounted.

Updated 5:45 p.m. ET

President Trump on Monday extended a freeze on green cards for new immigrants and signed an executive order to suspend new H-1B, L-1, J and other temporary work visas for skilled workers, managers and au pairs through the end of the year.

The goal of the move is to protect 525,000 jobs as part of the White House response to job losses caused by the coronavirus pandemic, said a senior administration official, who spoke to reporters on the condition of anonymity. NPR first reported the impending order on Saturday.

White House coronavirus task force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx said on Tuesday that she is encouraged by the latest data showing declines in new cases of the virus, hospitalizations and deaths across all but a few areas of the United States.

The White House coronavirus task force rejected detailed guidance drafted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on how workplaces ranging from schools to bars to churches should resume operations to prevent the spread of the virus because it was viewed as "overly prescriptive."

President Trump said the existing coronavirus social distancing guidelines that are set to expire with the end of April on Thursday will not be extended further, as more governors begin steps to lift restrictions and reopen their economies.

The administration said the existing social distancing recommendations are being incorporated by governors into their new future plans.

"They'll be fading out, because now the governors are doing it," Trump said.

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